Lifestyle Magazine

9 Things Not to Mention in a Best Man’s Speech

By Claire

Let’s face it. The best man’s speech is the tough­est wed­ding speech of all. Whilst the father of the bride can fall back on pride and sen­ti­ment, and the groom on grat­i­tude and love, it’s the best man who has to enter­tain. And more impor­tantly, enter­tain WITHOUT caus­ing offense. Which is dif­fi­cult when your audi­ence com­prises of four gen­er­a­tions of friends and rela­tions from at least two fam­i­lies. The key is to be orig­i­nal, rel­e­vant and appro­pri­ate. And not to be a crude, abu­sive, self cen­tred mate! Here are some best man speech spoil­ers to be avoided at all costs:

Stag do stories:

Remem­ber that not all of the guests attended the stag do. Whilst some of your mates may be in stitches by you recount­ing the story of the groom’s stint in a Hun­gar­ian strip club, the rest of the guests may feel uncom­fort­able and excluded, and you won’t get the laughs you’re hop­ing for.

Hintlesham Hall wedding Kerry Diamond

Hintle­sham Hall wed­ding by

Stand-alone jokes:

This may sound odd; after all, this is the one wed­ding speech where peo­ple expect jokes. But punch lines that fall flat can be a night­mare for any speaker, and there are plenty of exam­ples of when peo­ple laugh with­out one.


Don’t include any joke that might insult guests and in par­tic­u­lar the bride! Best man’s speeches have a rep­u­ta­tion for being a bit saucy, but there have been many exam­ples where they’ve gone too far. Don’t judge a poten­tial story or joke on whether you find it funny, but on whether your audi­ence will be offended by it. You won’t impress those sin­gle brides­maids with smutty anecdotes!

UK wedding blog by Benjamin Toms Photography

A beau­ti­ful Fawsley Hall wed­ding — photo credit

Cheap laughs:

Con­tact friends and fam­ily who knew him when he was a tod­dler for funny sto­ries. The audi­ence will find his bed wet­ting exploits at five years old funny. The same story told of a 25 year old will get a less rap­tur­ous response.


How­ever easy-going the bride is, she doesn’t want to be reminded of any ex’s on her wed­ding day, even if they were a psy­cho, a weirdo or an obsessive.

Talk­ing about yours truly:

It’s tempt­ing to focus your wed­ding speech on your own rela­tion­ship with the groom. But if you labor the point too heav­ily, it can start to sound like nar­cis­sism and be very bor­ing for every­one else.

A char­ac­ter assas­si­na­tion of the groom:

Whilst there’s room for some gen­tle, good-natured abuse of the groom, don’t take it too far. No one wants to feel sorry for him at the end of the speech and you don’t want to come across as heart­less. The key is how you phrase things. You need to tease rather than insult. Be amus­ing rather than nasty. A good way of doing this is to work with con­tra­dic­tions and oppo­sites. If the groom is lazy then high­light his proac­tive moments. If he’s par­tic­u­larly camp, send him up as being macho. You don’t have to give him an easy ride, but remem­ber your job as best man includes remind­ing every­one (albeit in a teas­ing way) what a great bloke he is.

In-jokes and slang:

If peo­ple don’t under­stand your joke, they won’t find it funny. So don’t use a long word when a short one will do. Don’t use a clever pun if many of the guests have trav­elled from over­seas. And don’t use slang that only a small group of your friends will understand.

Long sto­ries:

You should limit spe­cific anec­dotes to a max­i­mum of two or three sen­tences each. Keep­ing it snappy will hold people’s atten­tion, and if a story isn’t work­ing, you can move swiftly on.
Fol­low­ing these tips will help ensure your wed­ding speech is remem­bered for all the right rea­sons. Remem­ber the best way to judge whether your speech is appro­pri­ate or not is to try it out on oth­ers. Whether that’s ask­ing a mutual friend or con­tact­ing a pro­fes­sional speech writer.

Classic wedding in Kent

Camilla and Luke’s clas­sic Kent wed­ding — photo credit

Lawrence Bern­stein is the founder of and is always happy to give free advice, act as a sound­ing board, or indeed help, edit or write the wed­ding speech for you.

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